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30 June 2010

1.3 million jobs to go

The Budget’s unpublished small print is hugely significant.

By James Macintyre

The Guardian has got hold of leaked Treasury figures showing that about 1.3 million jobs are to be lost across the British economy as a result of George Osborne’s “austerity Budget”.

From the paper’s report:

Unpublished estimates of the impact of the biggest squeeze on public spending since the Second World War show that the government is expecting between 500,000 and 600,000 jobs to go in the public sector and between 600,000 and 700,000 to disappear in the private sector by 2015.

The Chancellor gave no hint last week about the likely effect of his emergency measures on the labour market, although he would have had access to the forecasts, traditionally prepared for ministers and senior civil servants in the days leading up to a Budget or pre-Budget report.

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I understand from a source at the Treasury that a document drawn up in that department showing the real winners and losers from the Budget has been doing the rounds for the past week among roughly 100 civil servants, some of whom are privately alarmed. As well they might be. Job losses on that scale would be a huge setback for the process to recovery.

No wonder Osborne kept it quiet.